- That Red Sox series was like an annual performance review; good stuff at the start, terrible in the middle, then great at the end. And, like a mid-range bonus and no Improvement Plan put on paper, two out of three is something you're always kind of happy to take.
- If wearing a Roy Hobbs jersey makes Josh Hamilton come out of his funk, that's great. But it won't, unless wearing a Roy Hobbs jersey makes him keep the bat on his shoulder for breaking pitches down and away. That's an extremely odd psychological connection, so it's more likely that the building pressure on Josh to, you know, do his job finally cracks something that's not a bone in Josh's body.
- Remember Julio Borbon last year? Julio just wasn't very good at baseball in the majors last year. Fans and the local media ran him out of town, insofar as a front office lead by Jon Daniels can allow fans and local media to influence decisions (read this as: We're just going to go with the narrative in this one). He put up a triple slash line of 270/305/348, good for a wRC+ of 76, as a 25 year old centerfielder making roughly 450,000 dollars.
Today, I present to you Michael Young. Look, you know he's been terrible this year-270/299/346 terrible. In today's AL, that's a 67 wRC+, which means that it's actually a good bit worse than Borbon's 2011 -- and Young is a DH who moonlights as a poor defensive utility infielder, making 16,000,000 dollars this season.
That the two seasons are so similar is shocking. That the reaction from local voices is so different isn't, but I really wish it was.
- The traditional trade deadline is Tuesday, the 31st, but for the Rangers expect action before Sunday (when Josh Johnson is scheduled to pitch for the Marlins and Zach Greinke is on the mound for Milwaukee, and Roy Oswalt is tentatively on the hill for Texas). Cliff Lee is scheduled to pitch on July 31st, as well. It's possible- but, I don't think, likely- Texas might want to see Johnson pitch one more time before committing, but given the familiarity Texas has with Johnson (and the history of trying to get him here), I doubt one start will sway the office either way, one bit.
- If Martin Perez has pitched his last game in the Rangers organization (as he'd certainly be central to talks to any of the above three pitchers), then I'm very satisfied with his performance in Wednesday's game as his swan song. Yes, it wasn't dominant, as I hope(d) Perez would be capable of producing with some regularity. But it was a night where he didn't have his dominant stuff, but battled, survived, and thrived despite it.
- That's the kind of performance great players turn in regularly, with greater games mixed in, and the ability to battle through rough patches is one of the last development hurdles Perez needed to clear to be a viable Major Leaguer. That's the step Matt Harrison has been taking over the last year and half, which has lead Harrison to being the barrel-chested, scroungy-goateed, rock of a man that he is right now.
- Joe Nathan looked much more in his comfort zone last night. Partially, that might have been the fact that he was sitting 95 with both his four- and two-seamer, but I think a bigger part of it was 13 of 14 fastballs (with his one slider, thrown in a 1-2 count to leadoff batter -- and lefthander -- Adrian Gonzalez. Wednesday night, which was not-so-succesful for him, featured an 18-11 mix of fastballs and offspeed.
- Robbie Ross' usage since the All-Star break: 4 appearances, 2.2 IP, 13 total batters faced. It makes sense that the team might try to limit his innings at this point in the year (especially given the Jack McDowell-like pace he was one) but then why have his four appearances come on two sets of back-to-back days? Wouldn't it be more conservative to use him for one inning, then sit him for a day or two? Or is there another explanation for the fact he's been pulled mid-inning twice since the break, one time after one batter and once after three?